Anyway, Renee and I got up at 5:30 ish and got ready to head out. Brian drove us to the finish line of the race, so we could check our bag and then take the shuttle to the starting line (the starting line wasn't the same as the finish). Once we checked our bags, we got on a bus that took us to the start. By the time we got there, we had about 15 minutes before the start of the race, and we were at the back of the porta potty lines.
The announcer called 2 more minutes when we were finally first in line. We hurried through the porta potties, and then got to the start right with just a few seconds to spare. I hopped in right with the the 1:55 pacer--I knew I wasn't going to hold that pace, but the next pacer was a 2:00 time (9:10/mi), and I wanted to try to stay ahead of that.
As soon as the gun sounded, I ran with that first pacer for a while, feeling pretty confident. But my mouth was SO DRY. That always happens to me during races--the first mile or two, I'm so nervous that my mouth feels like cotton. After about a half-mile, I decided to just fall back a little, and then I heard what sounded like a stampede coming up behind me. It was the 2:00 pacer, and a ton of people surrounding her. It was so hard to run with tons of people around me.
I heard my Garmin beep, so I looked at the time--9:17 for the first mile. As soon as I saw that, I felt defeated. I would have a lot of catching up to do if I wanted to finish sub-2:00. So I just decided to forget it, and fall back to a comfortable pace. I was feeling really disappointed, and I wished I'd never set a time goal--I hate setting time goals, because when I don't meet it, I always feel down.
I was feeling kind of crappy, but a little before the turn-around at mile 3, I saw Renee (she had already turned around, and was coming back). We high-fived as we were running, and she looked like she was doing awesome. She looked really determined, and it made me stop feeling sorry for myself and change my plan. I thought, "Renee wouldn't give up if she didn't reach her goal--she'd still try and do her best!" So I decided to make it my mission to catch up with the 2:00 pacer (a near-impossible task).
I was really not expecting all the hills in this race. The elevation chart looked like it was pretty flat--well, it wasn't. I took full-advantage of the downhills, and tried my best to hold a good pace on the uphills. At around mile 6, I started to feel a hot spot on my foot that I prayed wouldn't turn into a blister. I had brought my Mizuno's to race in, but I really should have brought my Brooks. The Mizuno's give me a blister on my right foot for anything over 6 miles or so.
I kept seeing my overall pace getting slower and slower, and it was bumming me out. My "A" goal was sub-2:00. My "B" goal was to PR (faster than 2:02:57). When I realized THAT wasn't going to happen, I made up a "C" goal of running all sub-10:00 miles. There was a huge hill around mile 11, and my pace was an 11:xx mile (I'll have to check my splits when I get home). So then I made a "D" goal of finishing with an average pace under 10:00/mi. And I did that! Thank goodness, because the only other goal (my "E" goal) would have been to just finish, regardless. So I crossed the finish line, and after stopping my Garmin, it read: 2:08:45. My official time:
After I finished, I found Renee and we went to the after-party to enjoy our "bubbly".
During the race, I was mad at myself for not sticking to my goal, but got over that quickly. Now, I am happy to have finished, despite it feeling much tougher than I planned. I don't know if I'll ever run a sub-2:00 HM, and I'm okay with that. I actually think it's more fun to run slowly and enjoy the view of an unfamiliar city.